Mantha: The Genealogical Adam and Eve at a Christian College

With all the craziness of the semester, I finally got around to doing a bulk GAE order and today it (20 copies) arrived!

I am using GAE at my university in several ways.

First, I am am filling in teaching a general education class this semester called Human Genetics, which used to be primarily a science pre-req. for Nursing, but which we have moving towards a more general “scientific literacy and faith integration in the context of genetics and human ancestry” approach. The idea is to let students at a Christian university not only explore some of the relevant science of genetics, but also the faith implications and bioethics. Last year the previous instructor used Venema and McKnight’s “Adam and the Genome” as the discussion text, so this year I thought I’d try Genealogical Adam and Eve. I still have mostly freshman and sophomore pre-Nursing students in the course, but also psychology, ministry, and others. The nice thing about GAE is it sets up a more neutral look at the conversation (using a hypothesis, showing where it fits in the context of various “camps”, etc.) that makes it much more approachable and appropriate for the classroom.

Second, I direct a Center for Science & Faith on my campus, which fosters interdisciplinary and integrative engagement between science, theology, and philosophy for students and faculty. The center has an advisory board made up of scientists, doctors, area pastors, and denominational leaders. I am sending them each a copy of GAE as an example of a different kind of engagement between science and religion than what they are typically used to, and which I think can be very useful for our students (and faculty). I think @swamidass and Peaceful Science shows that engagement between faith communities and scientific communities can be positive, mutually respectful, and not watered down. That isn’t always easy to find.

Third, this summer I will be running a GAE book club as a part of the Center for Science and Faith. Last summer we did Steve Olson’s Mapping Human History, which was a big success. We had a small, but very diverse group of faculty from Business, Education, History, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science that met each week to discuss the book. Many had grown up in YEC homes but had many unanswered questions. These are people who are not necessarily into the “origins debate” and some were generally unsure about evolution. They did, however, want to think more about what it means to be human and where we came from (in the more immediate sense of human migration, etc.). Olson’s book was written from a secular perspective and many of the participants wanted to also theological perspectives. So, this summer we’re going to go through GAE. I’m planning on giving/sending a copy to the first 10 who sign up. We’ll do it via Zoom if need be.